Thai Cuisine - The Spice of Life
Trip Start Jul 20, 2006
37Trip End May 10, 2007
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Thai food is more unique, coloruful, and flavorful than any other countries cuisine I have ever tasted. For starters, I never really know what I am getting and I am mostly at the mercy of those I am dining with. I have resorted to a few methods of food choice. The first being the, "I'll have whatever you're having" method. The second being the, "point-and-choose" method, which quickly becomes impossible if there are no pictures on the menu, like at Denny's, or no food on display. (Which is funny because my general rule of thumb at home is to never eat at a restaurant with pictures on the menu!) Then there is the "whatever you think I'll like" method. Lastly there is the "whatever the group is eating" option
Sanitary, or clean eating options are questionable. I was eating dinner at the mall with my friend Saiaew and as we picked up our food from the self-serve counter, I looked around in wonderment for the utensils. Then, I watched as Saiaew took silverware from a drawer and dipped it inside a bucket of warm water. I followed suit and asked her, what she was doing. "I'm cleaning the spoon," she excalimed.
Just the other night, I walked along Suthep road scanning the food stalls for dinner, as I noticed a man crouching on the side walk cleaning dishes. From one bucket of water filled with suds, to another without, straight into the hands of the woman serving pad thai. There is no way that is clean, I thought, Oh well, the pad thai looked good!
Bringing me to the concept of outdoor cooking
Roadside food stalls have not only the cheapest but tastiest food options, and also make for great al-fresco dining. However, creates some sanitary concerns for me. If the California Department of Health were to get a hold of this city, I am sad to say, that they would earn below average grades, with a 'C' being the highest. Maybe it is all that should not be in the food, which makes it so good?!
I have almost become accustomed to eating with my spoon and cutting with my fork, yes that is the way they do it here, and I look stupid when I eat with my fork. To them it is the equivalent of me eating with my knife back at home.
My first Thai food experience was almost silly
The food here is great, the portions small, and my American appetite atrocious. Sometimes when my dish is served, I feel as if I am eating at a Fancy French Bistro where a slice of a filet steak is served with a side dish of two carrots and one bite-size potato for $100. But, here, it is maybe 20 baht which is less than 50 cents.
At publication time, my food options have improved, as well as my Thai language capabilities. Knowing the food basics in Thai has helped tremendously as I can now at least ask for noodles or rice, what meat I want, and what veggies I want too. I also know how to say not too spicy, though my taste buds are becoming a bit more accustomed to Thai food... I think my mouth suffered from a greater state of culture shock that I!